Land Rover switches 1,000 Freelander jobs

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The Independent Online

Land Rover is to move production of its mass market Freelander model from the West Midlands, after saying it was "disappointed" by employees' attitude to new working practices.

Production and the 1,000 jobs will go to the Jaguar factory in Halewood, Merseyside. Jaguar and Land Rover are part of Ford's global vehicle empire. The Solihull factory will still make other Land Rover models, keeping 7,200 jobs there.

A spokeswoman for Land Rover said: "We've been trying to introduce new working practices at Solihull but the vote on this has not provided management with the confidence they were looking for."

Solihull workers originally rejected the reforms but two weeks ago voted narrowly in favour. The spokeswoman said the changes were "simple" matters, such as wearing new work clothing and not smoking in production areas. She added that Land Rover would proceed with its planned £200m investment at Solihull, which will continue to make bigger and more specialist vehicles, such as the Range Rover and Discovery models.

Land Rover said the move would allow it to make the Freelander within a volume production plant that makes the Jaguar X-type.

Separately, unions raised the alarm at the possible loss of 4,000 jobs in the defence industry. However, the Ministry of Defence denied their claim that Project Red Dragon, to repair aircraft, was under threat.